The late Billy Graham used to tell a story of a time during the early years of his preaching ministry. He was due to lead a crusade meeting in a town in South Carolina, and he needed to mail a letter. So he asked a little boy there, “How do I get to the post office?” Billy had to ask the boy to repeat the directions a time or two. Finally, Billy said, “Now, if you come over to the Central Baptist Church tonight, I’ll tell you how to get to heaven.” The boy frowned. “No thanks!” You don’t even know how to get to the post office!”
Here’s Bill who was trying to offer some vital information about salvation, and getting flat-out rejected. In the gospel today, Jesus got the same result when he tried to elaborate on his future. It must have been a brutal shock to the apostles when Jesus says, “Soon I’m going to suffer terribly, be rejected by church leaders, and killed. But I’ll rise again after three days.” Worse, “And if you want to come after me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”
No one ever followed Jesus because of promises of comfort, pleasure or money, right? But each of us HAS denied ourselves, given up money or time to do something good for another person. When we love someone, we often live lives of denial taking care of them—raising children, caring for elder parents. This is what Jesus speaks of when he asks us to say “yes” to God’s ways, and God’s will.
But we can’t “walk the walk” without the support of friendships and our community. Alone, we know we can’t do much—and it’s not as much fun either. In short, we need each other’s faith.
PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS
O God, our Heavenly Father, you have given us the gift of our catechists to be heralds of the Gospel to our parish family. We lift them up to you in thanksgiving and intercede for them concerning their hopes and needs.
May we be attentive to the presence of your Word in them, a Word that lifts up and affirms, calls forth and challenges, is compassionate and consoles.
We pray that our parish family will always be blessed with those who have responded to the call to share in Christ’s prophetic mission as catechists. May we too be open to the universal call to service that Christ addresses to all of his disciples, contributing our gifts to the communion of faith, the Church. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
May you have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His love!
Listen to my homily today: (Posted after Mass)
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish